Credit: Richard Lovelock

Animal Kingdom: Discover the British Isles’ Amazing Wildlife on a Cruise with Fred. Olsen

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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Discover your inner David Attenborough on a scenic wildlife cruise around the British Isles this summer

Minke whales, Orcas, porpoises, puffins, seals and dolphins. You may not have thought it, but the UK is home to some of the world's most incredible wildlife and one of the best ways of seeing these magnificent creatures is on a cruise.

As the travel industry awaits the restart of international travel, many cruise lines and operators are taking advantage of what’s on our doorstep and launching UK domestic voyages as travellers look to dip their toes back into cruising post-lockdown.

One such cruise line is Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which recently launched its new ‘Welcome Back’ programme of cruises that have been designed to showcase the best of the British Isles with scenic-only cruises and those with ports of call featured aboard its smaller ships.

While Fred. Olsen’s initial British Isles sailings will be ‘no port’ scenic sailings, the cruise line has announced a very special line-up for guests. They will be joined by cruise conservationists from marine wildlife charity ORCA, who will be offering wildlife-spotting tips, hosting sessions from the deck and giving guests the chance to assist in vital conservation research.

Artist's impression of Fred. Olsen ship Borealis

The cruise line's new ship, Borealis, will be the first to set sail, with a three-night scenic ‘Maiden Voyage’ from Liverpool on 5 July, with Bolette following with a three-night sailing from Dover on 16 August.

For Borealis’ ‘Maiden Voyage’, for instance, guests will get the chance to take in some of Scotland’s spectacular coastal scenery and natural wonders – which include the remarkable basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave and the unique island of Dutchman’s Cap – as well as incredible marine wildlife.

During this three-night cruise, ORCA’s team of cruise conservationists will spend their days out on deck with guests, helping them to spot, identify and record data about the marine wildlife that they see, including dolphins and whales, as well as holding lectures and Q&A sessions on board.

Furthermore, any data captured during these sailings will be analysed and used as a part of ORCA’s wider research to identify hotspots for whales and dolphins to help the charity better protect them. This in turn helps to create safe spaces in the ocean for whales and dolphins to thrive, safeguarding them for future generations.

Head of partnerships at ORCA, Steve Jones, said:

‘British waters are incredibly rich with wildlife and to have the opportunity to celebrate and showcase them to Fred. Olsen guests is something that ORCA is delighted to be involved in.

‘Not only will our cruise conservationists be able to teach guests about the wonderful world of whales and dolphins around the UK, but they will also be able to collect important scientific data to help ORCA protect them for future generations.

‘We can’t wait to get back out to sea with Fred. Olsen and explore the wildlife that’s on our doorstep!’

Director of product and customer service at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Clare Ward, said:

‘Our Welcome Back scenic sailings have been designed to celebrate our beautiful British Isles, and this is a fantastic way to do that, by showcasing the many species of marine wildlife that can be found here.

‘These sailings around the British Isles will bring with them opportunities to spot common, Risso’s and bottlenose dolphins, as well as harbour porpoises and minke whales. Guests might even spot rarer visitors such as the iconic humpback whale.

‘We know that our guests are really looking forward to joining us back on board this summer, and having ORCA with us will make these sailings even more special.’

As well as marine wildlife, guests will also get to enjoy incredible flora and fauna as they sail around the British Isles, particularly on Bolette’s ‘Maiden Voyage’. The beautiful archipelagos of England’s south coast, including the Isles of Scilly, are home to a vast array of birdlife including puffins.

Balmoral sailing out of Dover in previous years

Highlights of ORCA’s sailings with Fred. Olsen's include:

Borealis’ three-night ‘Maiden Voyage’ no port cruise, departing from Liverpool on 5 July 2021. £50 per person 'onboard spend' is available.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Cruising Firth of Lorn, Scotland – Cruising past Duart Castle, Scotland – Cruising Sound of Mull, Scotland – Cruising Fingal's Cave, Isle of Staffa – Cruising by Dutchman's Cap (Bac Mòr), Scotland – Cruising by The Small Isles, Scotland – Cruising Loch Fyne, Scotland – Cruising by Culzean Castle, Scotland – Liverpool, England

Borealis’ five-night ‘Scenic Orkney & Faroe Islands’ no port cruise, departing from Liverpool on 17 July 2021. £100 per person 'onboard spend' is available.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Cruising by The Needle, Orkney, Scotland – Cruising by Old Man of Hoy, Hoy, Orkneys – Cruising by Marwick Head, Orkneys – Cruising by Fair Isle, Shetlands – Cruising by Sumburgh Head, Shetlands – Cruising by Cape Enniberg, Faroe Islands – Cruising Kalsoyarfjørður, Faroe Islands – Cruising Leirvíksfjørður & Djúpini, Faroe Islands – Cruising by Vestmanna cliffs, Streymoy, Faroe Islands – Cruising by Gásadalur, Faroe Islands – Cruising by Mykines, Faroe Islands – Cruising Gáshólmur, Tindhólmur & Drangarnir, Faroe Islands – Cruising by Hestur & Koltur, Faroe Islands – Liverpool, England

Bolette’s five-night ‘Scenic British Isles & Summer Wildlife’ no port cruise, departing from Dover on 19 August 2021. £100 per person 'onboard spend' is available.

Itinerary: Dover, England – Cruising by Duncasby sea stacks, Scotland – Cruising by The Needle, Orkneys – Cruising by Old Man of Hoy, Orkneys – Loch Eriboll, Scotland – Cruising Loch Broom, Scotland – Cruising by Marwick Head, Scotland – Cruising by Sumburgh Head, Scotland – Cruising by Fair Isle, Shetlands – Dover, England

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